Tension Headaches Base Skull Suboccipital Sioux City
Suboccipital headaches are caused by irritation of the suboccipital muscles at the base of the head. The small muscles run from the back of the skull down to the first and second cervical vertebrae. They are responsible for helping to pick our head up and tip it towards the ceiling. Think of the “yes and no” motion; this movement is powered by the suboccipital muscles, and is allowed by the upper cervical joints.
Most people overwhelm these muscles when they sit with her head forward and tipped down. Think of working at computer with a slouched posture. Over time, these muscles become injured and aggravated, which produces spasms. Muscle spasms in this area have a tendency to compress the suboccipital nerves, which can contribute to headaches.
This is a common cause of many people’s computer or tension headaches. A person will commonly describe fatigue and muscle soreness at the base of their skull and upper neck. They feel some relief when they rub these muscles. Sometimes, they can push on a muscle which can either aggravate the headache or provide significant relief. These are common indicators of a suboccipital headache.
Treatment will focus on decreasing the workload of the suboccipital muscles. Obviously, posture can play a significant role in decreasing headache symptoms. By simply sitting up and focusing on better posture, we can decrease the overall workload on the muscles. Within a short period of time, this will help decrease headache frequency and intensity. Massage therapy is an excellent tool, and provides tremendous relief to suboccipital headache sufferers. Massage therapy will focus on muscle spasms, tension, and trigger points of the trapezius, suboccipital muscles, neck muscles, and upper back muscles.
This can be combined with Graston Technique, which will help further decrease muscle spasms and tension in the suboccipital, trapezius, cervical paraspinals, and rhomboid muscles. It also helps break up scar tissue and adhesions in the neck and upper back muscles. The scar tissue is often described as that big knot that won’t go away in muscles. Using Graston Technique on neck muscles will help relieve their contribution to the suboccipital headaches.
Cold laser therapy is another effective tool that can lessen pain and muscle irritation. Cold laser will increase blood flow to the small muscles and decrease inflammation around the nerves that contribute to headaches. These treatments are most effective when used in conjunction with therapeutic stretching and exercises that focus on improving posture and strengthening weak upper back and neck muscles.
This combination of treatment can quickly diminish the frequency, intensity, and duration of the suboccipital headaches. Many patients have tried these individual treatments by themselves with limited effectiveness; however, they are very happy with the results when all treatments are used in combination to address their headaches symptoms.